Thursday 21 March 2019

The Wandering Ascetic - Crimson

Labels: Transcending Obscurity Asia
Formats: CD/Digital
Release Date: 12 Feb 2019


1. Eva Braun
2. I Sing The Body Electric
3. The Exorcism Of Mrs. Doe
4. The Gods Bleed!
5. Beast Of Burden
6. The Will To Live
7. To Hell, Back And To Hell Again
8. Here For The Good Things
9. Assassins
10. Orang Laut

It feels like a Friday night. I wish it was! That being said, I really don't have a reason to complain. I'm even happier due to that fact that I can actually sit down and write about something tonight. That something being the recent debut full-length from Singaporean black/death band The Wandering Ascetic. "Crimson" was released in February via Transcending Obscurity Asia (an imprint of Transcending Obscurity Records) and it comes a whole a whole six years after their first EP "Manifest Destiny". 

The Wandering Ascetic is billed as a black/death/thrash band and the trio is definitely heavy. The vocals and the drumming follow the black metal blueprint on opener Eva Braun, while the guitar work is groovy and melodic, which may throw you out. Thankfully it works well and adds a really listenable element to the song. The musical layers on I Sing The Body Electric drag TWA’s music in a more blackened direction but there’s still no escaping the more upbeat feel of their music. I know it seems wrong of me to say that, but there’s just something about it. I love hearing the genre interpretations laid out by bands from far flung countries and this record is no exception to that. 

That groove I talked about earlier adds a sludge/doom slant to The Exorcism Of Mrs. Doe and it’s great. So many different fusions of extreme sub-genres yet everything works in harmony. None of the songs on “Crimson” are especially long but TWA manages to shoehorn a lot into them musically. They retreat from the groove on The Gods Blessed! and head in a more occult direction with a stripped-down song that’s joined by choral chanting that sounds menacing at its best. It’s here that the bass guitar is also more prominent, proving once again how proficient these guys are with their instruments. 

TWA’s black/thrash attack unleashes itself on Beast Of Burden. It’s not truly bestial, instead taking more from thrash legends like Metallica and Megadeth over the likes of Revenge. The thrash continues on The Will To Live, which has a horror-like aesthetic to it (but maybe that’s just because of the rabid vocals) as the solo-work is impeccable and way more rock n roll than you might expect, even if the audible lyrics suggest something more sinister!

Before you know if you’re thrust headfirst into To Hell, Back And To Hell Again, which is the album’s shortest track and indeed goes by all to quickly, leading straight into Here For The Good Things (a terribly positive song title for a black/death/thrash band, but who am I to question). It might be an ironic song title but it’s still got punch and a dystopian view towards the end that’ll make you realise that the irony was used in quite an effective way.

Penultimate song Assassins is as barbaric as TWA gets in both tempo and outright delivery. The kick-drumming is more over the top that it’s been on the rest of the record, leading to a truly neck-snapping song. It’s left to album closer Orang Laut to provide one last dose of groove-laden black metal and it just goes to highlight the breadth of skill involved in this release and the trio that produced it. If you want something both extreme and catchy (dare I say it) then look no further. “Crimson” is a great record from yet another great talent from Singapore. 

You can stream certain tracks from "Crimson" via Transcending Obscurity Asia below:-

Peek below for the CD/T-shirts that are available via the bandcamp page below:-

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